if I asked you if you ever felt lonely in your life, what would you say?
It is my personal conviction that you would either say “yes I have!” or that you would either lie to me or to yourself or that you would have shut yourself off from your feelings if “yes” wasn’t your answer… because we all feel lonely sometimes.
Even as little children when our patents go out and leave us with a baby sitter (or alone when we are old enough), we feel left alone sometimes – all of us do.
Yet, in our walk with THE LORD, this time of loneliness may be a good thing or even a very important and necessary stage we have to go through.
Now that doesn’t mean it feels good.
Not at all.
Loneliness can be so hurtful that it’s almost physically painful.
There is this emptiness, this pain over not having fulfillment or meaning or something worth while to do or someone to talk to, a restlessness and at the same time this hopelessness and frustration about not being able to do something about it… it hurts!
And it doesn’t really make a big difference what the reason for this loneliness is – if it is because we have just lost someone (to death or to separation) or if we have just realized that we are truly alone, even though we may be surrounded by people or even though we may be in an intimate relationship with someone and the pain comes from the realization that we are not intimately relating with this person, that we are not truly close to them, not able to reach them on a deep level like we would like to. Being alone whilst being with someone can be even more painful than being alone without anyone being around us.
When we have a relationship with GOD, we are never truly alone.
HE is always with us – and it may even be an offense to HIM when we are lonely.
Because HE is always there, always loving, always available.
And if we are hurting despite this truth, it can mean that we don’t value HIS presence in our lives enough.
This can in itself be an indicator that we NEED to be alone with HIM more.
I hope this makes sense…?
What I believe is that GOD sometimes “prescribes” us a period of loneliness.
For various reasons.
One of them being that we feel lonely for people even though HE is there with us – offering us the love of all loves… and if this love can’t reach us, we need to learn to receive it!
And you may find that when you either look back to a period when you were lonely in your life, it could be true that GOD wanted this time in your life to take place and that HE wanted to use it for one or some of these purposes:
– Loneliness can intensify your intimacy with GOD
when you have no one else to turn to, you will cry out to GOD more loudly and more often and with all your heart – much more than if there was a friend or a human lover to comfort you – sometimes we have to be really desperate and needy and sometimes we need to be in a place where we have explored all our other options in order for us to cry out to GOD with all our heart and all our might… and in order for us to listen, listen really carefully and listen as long as it takes… in order for us to give GOD our undivided attention and putting all our trust and all our hope in HIM and in HIM alone.
THIS is what GOD wants us to do.
And the world keeps bombarding us with distractions.
Sometimes we need to be in a place or in a situation where nothing else has worked before we are willing to seek GOD with all we have.
– It can be a time when GOD is teaching you something
And if you weren’t so lonely, you wouldn’t be willing to learn…
Sometimes, what GOD wants to teach us requires a lot of patience to learn.
Sometimes, what HE wants to show us is not half as exciting as everything else we would be seeing or doing if we weren’t waiting on HIM… OUR FATHER is not a GOD of excitement or of thrills or of instant rewards… these are not his “things”.
HE is a GOD of persistence, of truth and of victory.
And HE is very, very patient – not like us.
We, if it was up to us, we would give up (too) easily if learning something, if getting somewhere would take too long… so sometimes HE has to force us to learn it, has to shut us off from other things, from other places and people to turn to, so that we can concentrate, in fact, so that we must concentrate on what HE is teaching us.
When HE builds someone up, teaches someone, HE does it over years sometimes – and there are so many examples in the bible!
David for instance.
After he had been chosen by GOD to be the next king of Israel, he was sent back to be with the sheep again.
But what happened there?
He learned to fight.
And he became a worshipper and learned to play the harp and he became very close to GOD.
Both skills he would need to fulfill his destiny.
Without them, history would not have taken the turns GOD wanted it to take.
PLUS David had an ability to hear GOD’s voice unlike many other kings, who mostly needed to hear from GOD by prophets, but to David, GOD spoke directly and David spoke back – we know that he was deeply in love with GOD and that he sang to HIM and spoke to HIM, we can even still be inspired by it today, because the Psalms are the most beautiful prayers, poems, devotions and conversations with GOD…
When he was sold as a slave by his brothers and thrown into prison in a foreign land, he learned to use the prophetic gift GOD had give him more wisely…
Esther, when she was prepared to become a queen – separated from the “normal life”, she, too, was prepared for her destiny to come…
– a time of loneliness can be a time where GOD hides us to protect us
Another aspect of a time of loneliness is that it may be that GOD is protecting you.
From the outside world.
From your enemies.
From yourself – from something you would do, something you would pursue, people you would meet, places you would go…
If Elijah hadn’t been hid in the wilderness and fed by the ravens, Jezebel would have killed him for sure.
– loneliness can be a time of purification, of consecration
As an example, Daniel comes to mind.
He learned to not eat the food the king provided for him, not drink the vine and also not worship the gods king Nebuchadnezzar ordered everyone to worship. Being lonely can also mean being different and isolated from the rest of the people who live with us – from the world.
As Christians, we need to be willing to learn to be the only ones confessing to OUR GOD and only when we can be strong enough to be alone can we stand our ground when others are against us.
– if you have never been lonely, you may not be as compassionate
Sometimes, GOD makes you go through what you will later help others get over.
It is actually much better than all the therapists in the world would be able to help someone – a person who has come out of something (in our case loneliness) with GOD’s help.
And can tell and show and explain others exactly how they did it and how GOD helped them and what they learned from it.
GOD IS a genius.
And there WILL be a time in your life, a time after the loneliness when you will know what to say to someone who is lonely.
– loneliness can also be a test
When we look at Job, he was being tested and during this time of trials, he lost everything and everyone – his enire family, even many, almost all of his friends… he must have felt really lonely.
But he stayed faithful to GOD – and GOD stayed faithful to him.
What is the conclusion?
I guess it is that if your loneliness is from GOD, there is nothing you can do about it.
And if you come to realize that GOD has initiated or “prescribed” this period of loneliness to you, you might as well pray about why HE did so and what HE wants you to learn or do during this time.
There WILL be a time when you will get out and over this.
GOD can help you.
HE can bring meaning and (the right) people and healing to your life.
ONLY HE can.
Sometimes, you can even be supposed to learn to share about what you are going through and to learn how to ask for help
Maybe that’s all there is to it in your case..?
To be more grounded in your Christian community and more connected with your brothers and sisters in Christ?
Perhaps that’s all it takes.
Maybe you should consider getting more involved in your church?
Or perhaps GOD wants you to understand that the best way to overcome loneliness and depression or sadness is to help others?
When you are lonely and bored and don’t really know what to do with your life or your time, have you considered doing something godly with it?
Something we are supposed to do?
What can you do?
Can you volunteer somewhere or do your own thing of helping in your community?
Pray about it.
It may be that GOD is waiting for you to ask, so that HE can direct you and answer your prayer – and change your life for the better through this act of obedience…
These are just a few of my thoughts about it, in the end, since GOD is in control, we never ever need to worry, because it will always be for our good.
That doesn’t always help in the very situation, plus GOD never promised us an easy life, but at the same time, it is also good to know that HE is a good GOD and always has our good in mind and that HE can turn anything around.
Last, but not least, again, remember that you are not alone.
Everybody feels lonely sometimes.
If you talk to someone about it, this person that you talk to may be very glad you did…
I hope that this will inspire, heal and bless you and that THE LORD will bless you abundantly in all areas of your life and that HE will keep you and shine HIS face upon you and bring you peace. In JESUS’ name I pray. AMEN.